Energy gels - what are they and should I use them? with Kendal Mint Co

What are Energy Gels? Energy gels are a great way to help with endurance and energy. Put simply - they are a highly convenient, fast and efficient sources of carbohydrate during exercise in a liquid format. Easy to take whilst on the move with no chewing involved and easily digested. A well-designed energy gel will contain a blend of carbohydrates, sometimes Electrolytes, other vitamins and often Caffeine to avoid fatigue.

Do energy gels actually work? 

Can energy gels improve performance? Yes, scientific research has proven that energy gels do work and can improve performance by providing a source of energy that is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream whilst lasting for a long period of time. This helps to delay fatigue and allow you to maintain a higher level of intensity for longer.

What are the benefits of energy gels? Some studies have found that consuming an energy gel, even at the very top level of performance in professional athletes, improved cycling time trial performance by over two percent. That can be the difference between first and last, up to 48 seconds across a 40 minute time trial.

How do Energy Gels work?

Energy gels work by providing a concentrated source of carbohydrate in an easy-to-digest form. When you eat them, the gel is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and helps to maintain blood sugar levels while you're working out. Carbohydrates are fuel to the human body. A bit like a car, your body needs to be re-fueled and can only store a certain amount in its "fuel tank". On average, the body can only absorb around 60g of Carbohydrate per hour. After these stores become depleted, your body begins breaking down your Glycogen stores.

KMC Energy Gels work by:

  1.  Providing Instant & Sustained Energy via the dual charge carbohydrate energy delivery system. By combining Maltodextrin & Fructose in a ratio of 2:1 to maximise your Carbohydrate absorption. More here.

    2/3 Maltodextrin / Glucose is often referred to as the building blocks of Carbohydrate. A simple sugar (monosaccharide) and your body's preferred carbohydrate based energy source. Maltodextrin is a polymer of Glucose molecules. It's made from one single unit of carbohydrate and therefore can't be broken down any further. Glucose is absorbed directly across the lining of your small intestine and straight into your blood stream, which delivers it to your cells. This in-turn stimulates the release of Insulin which increase the amount of glucose able to enter your body's cells, providing a more instant release of energy.

    1/3 Fructose (Fruit Sugar)Naturally found in fruit, honey, agave and most root vegetables. Fructose is also absorbed more directly into the bloodstream, via a different set of transporters but raises blood sugar levels more slowly.

    This avoids the bottle neck, increases the maximum amount of Carbohydrate which can be absorbed and provide an instant but also long-lasting energy source. Giving you the maximum amount of energy to optimise your performance. You can read more about our carefully formulated Dual-Charge carbohydrate system here.

  2. Improving Physical Performance with 4 essential electrolytes. KMC NRG GEL contains a blend of 4 Electrolytes designed to aid hydration by replacing salts lost through sweat and improve physical performance. Electrolytes also help avoid cramp and early onset fatigue. Read more about electrolytes here.

  3. Providing an effective energy delivery system with B Vitamins designed to aid bodily functions during exercise. The KMC B Vitamin complex (3,5,6 and 12) is designed to breakdown carbohydrates more effectively into energy and maintain nerve and blood cell functionality. You can read more here.


When and how often should I use an energy gel? 

Nutrition Guides

We recommend you consume one gel every 45-60 minutes, before and during exercise to recharge. Suitable for all Sports.

KMC NRG GELs contain 27g of Dual-Charge Carbohydrate, 4 Key Electrolytes and B Vitamins (B3, B5, B6 & B12) so they pack a real punch. If you want to #Supercharge your performance, you have come to the right place!

Always think ahead and stay on top of your energy levels, eat pro-actively not re-actively, to avoid hitting the wall.

  • Eat well before you start exercising and take your first gel within 45-60 minutes into your activity, take one gel ever 45-60 minutes thereafter.
  • Our energy gels are much less viscous than most and isotonic, but we would still recommend having some water.
  • It's a good idea to mix it up with some GEL+ Caffeine energy gels. Caffeine is scientifically proven to boost your physical endurance. (...but don't exceed the recommended GDA).

You can read more on our Energy Gel FAQ's here.


Types of Energy Gels - Which Energy Gels should I use? 

 There are many different types of energy gels on the market today. Energy gels can be found at most sporting goods stores as well as online. When looking for an energy gel, it is important to consider two factors:

Types of Carbohydrates: in energy gels Include fructose and glucose at a ratio of about two-thirds to one-third, respectively. These types of carbohydrates are quickly absorbed and provide energy for athletes during endurance events.

Ingredients: Energy gels typically contain water, maltodextrin, fructose, glucose, potassium chloride (electrolyte), and sometimes caffeine or flavorings. It is important to check the ingredients list before purchasing.

Most energy gels only provide one active ingredient or the other. KMC Energy Gels provide a dual carbohydrate source, 4 essential electrolytes, 4 B Vitamins and caffeine (choose with or without) in one affordable package without the extra price tag.

Types of Energy Gels:

  1. Standard Energy Gels - Focus mostly on the Carbohydrate (energy) Concentration and formula. KMC energy gels contain 27g of dual carbohydrate per serving.

  2. Isotonic Energy Gels - Contain a blend of Carbohydrates and electrolytes in the same or similar concentration of your blood. Designed to maintain the correct levels within your body.  KMC energy gels are Isotonic, but we always advise drinking some water alongside.

  3. Caffeinated Energy Gels - Some energy gels provide your body with caffeine for hit for when you need it most, scientifically proven to reduce fatigue and drowsiness. KMC NRG Gel+ is infused with 100mg of caffeine per 70g serving. Caffeine is also proven to increase both endurance and muscular strength.




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Common problems with Energy Gels and how to avoid them?

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Why do some energy gels hurt my stomach? - Tips, Guides & News - Kendal Mint Co® | KMC

Energy gels are a popular, convenient way for endurance athletes at any level to take on a substantial amount of carbohydrates in a short space of time. Most aerobic exercise will see your body burning large amounts of carbohydrates as your body's primary fuel source. If you find yourself exercising for at least an hour, then there are definitely benefits to taking on some carbs in the form of a gel.

Are Energy Gels Recyclable?

The short answer is no, almost all energy gels are made from a packaging format which combines foil, and non-recyclable plastics. This is mostly due to the liquid nature of the product, it's very difficult to find a packaging solution which provides an oxygen and liquid barrier, tough enough for the product, whilst protecting it from microbes and providing adequate shelf-life. 

But there is an answer - Refillable Energy Gels!

Kendal Mint Co. Aka KMC have come up with a rather ingenious solution (if we do say so ourselves). We have developed refillable energy gel pouches and flasks, the first of their kind in the UK. Simpler, Faster & Cleaner - for a greener way to consume energy gels.

Say goodbye to single-use energy gel sachets and start refilling your KMC NRG GEL Soft Flask using our 10-serve bulk pouch. Reducing packaging waste by over 60%. Simply unscrew the lid, pour your energy gel into the carefully designed, wide-neck, gel soft flask and screw the lid back on once done. You can fill it all the way up for two gel serves, or up to the conveniently marked line for one 70g gel serve. That's up to 54g of Carbohydrate in every pocket-sized Gel Flask!